A/N to follow
"Prim!" Katniss calls out, as she sprints towards the Lufthanasa gate at Logan Airport. Peeta hangs back, but cranes his neck to try and spot his girlfriend's sister. It doesn't take him long to locate a blonde a few inches taller than Katniss, hair cropped to the nape. Her skin is tanned, but not the same shade as Katniss. The girl looks nothing like her sister, except for their smiles.
The two women collide as soon as Prim clears the gate, and crumble to the floor in a pile of embraces and sobs. Katniss had told him on the way to the airport that this was the longest she had been away from her little sister.
Peeta moves closer to the pair. When Katniss had asked him a few days earlier to come with her to pick up her sister at the airport, he had been kind of stunned. Even though he and Katniss have been dating for a few months now, he just assumed she would want this time to be just her and Prim, but seeing how happy his girlfriend is now, he's glad he came.
When he gets close enough, it is Prim who notices him first. Her teary pale blue eyes rake up and down him, sizing him up, then a wide smile breaks out across her face. She quickly detaches herself from her sister and jumps to her feet. She squeals with joy before wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him into a strong embrace.
"You must be Peeta," she gushes into his ear, squeezing him tight.
"Who?" he deadpans, and desperately tries to hold back a grin when he hears her gasp. She pulls away; her eyes are wide, and a blush he has seen so many times on Katniss floods Prim's cheeks.
"Um," she sputters, as he cocks an eyebrow at her.
"I'm just kidding," he snorts. "It's nice to meet you, Prim," he smiles broadly. Prim feigns anger, her hands coming to rest on her hips.
"I need to keep my eye on you." Then she reaches out to hug him once more. "Thanks for taking care of my sister," she whispers.
"Of course," he replies earnestly.
Katniss puts a hand on both of them. When Prim turns to her, Katniss beams.
"So what do you want to do? I know it was a long flight, so do you want to go back to the apartment and rest?"
"Heck no!" Prim protests. "I want food!"
"What kind of food...we can go anywhere you want," Katniss asks, and her sister puts a finger to her chin in contemplation for just a second.
"I want red-blooded American food, with grease and fries and puddles of ketchup, and Pepsi, and yeah..." she moans, causing Peeta to laugh out loud. Katniss puts one arm around Prim's waist and slips her hand into Peeta's.
"Well, come on," Katniss says. "Let's go."
Katniss brings them to a pub near her apartment. Peeta watches with amusement as Prim shovels down a whole giant chili cheeseburger, a plate of greasy fries, and chugs down a Pepsi, before finally uttering a word, but she only does so to order a beer from the waitress. She drinks half of the frothy glass before looking up at him and Katniss.
"You know," Prim smiles. "When I was in Africa, I saw tons of patients. I laughed with them, I cried with them, I held their hands, but I never once fell in love with any of them." Her eyes flit up to meet Peeta's and she grins at him. Peeta coughs and spits into his drink, his eyes widening.
"Prim!" Katniss scolds. "Does Peeta look like a dog to you?" Her eyes narrow at her sister.
"Well…" She takes a foamy sip. "I never fell in love with one of my patient's parents either." Peeta grins at Prim, which seems to set Katniss off.
"God, Primrose, you're making it seem like I was doing something salacious. What do you think I was doing, soliciting him for sex the whole time?"
"Well…" Peeta starts. He turns to Katniss and bites his bottom lip. "You did hijack my car so you could take me out to eat when we just met," he chortles.
"Oh my god, when was this?" Prim prods.
"Right after she got out of surgery with Charlie," he tells her. Prim's jaw drops open.
"Katniss," she admonishes, before turning back to Peeta. "Where did she take you, some seedy bar?"
"Worse actually." He leans across the table to get closer to Prim. "She brought me to Dunkin Donuts," he says in a strained whisper, as if the memory were too painful to admit. Prim does her part and gasps dramatically before turning to her sister, her mouth gaped open in shock. Peeta looks at Katniss then; her whole face is flushed burgundy, her mouth pulled into a scowl. His stomach twists when he thinks he might have gone too far.
"You guys are assholes," she spits out, but the angry facade breaks soon afterwards and she begins chuckling right along with them.
Katniss's residency ends in January, giving her a month and a half off from work to study for her American College of Veterinary Surgeons' certification test at the end of February. She hopes once she is officially a surgeon that Haymitch will give her a staff position at Mockingjay.
Even with all the hands-on experience and schooling she has acquired, the subject matter is extremely difficult, and as the days start to fall off the calendar, pushing quickly towards the day of the biggest exam she will ever take, she begins to feel less and less confident with what she knows. Peeta tries to tell her otherwise, but his words don't completely penetrate the part of her brain that is convinced she is going to fail. So Katniss begins studying obsessively.
She doesn't go anywhere without a text, or cards, or a notebook filled with medical chicken scratch that she steals glances at all the time. She still makes it over to Peeta's most days of the week, but if he's working, she is usually holed up in the corner of the coffee shop with a large half hazelnut coffee half hot chocolate, and a pharmacology book. On his days off, she curls up on his couch and makes Peeta do flash cards with her.
As far as she can tell, he doesn't mind the lack of attention. He always makes sure to supply her with warm pastries and words of encouragement, and if she wasn't so overwhelmed she would absolutely show him how much his love and patience actually means to her.
One afternoon, she sits on Peeta's couch, her legs tucked underneath her. She got here a little after 10:00 am and has been studying since; a quick glance at the time on the cable box tells her its 4:30 pm. She sighs in frustration, because even though she has been studying for six hours straight, she has no better of an understanding of the surgical procedure she has in front of her than she did when she started. Burning tears begin to well up in her eyes, and her throat starts to tighten. Her exam is only ten days away. If she hasn't learned this by now, is it actually possible to learn it? What if this topic is 80% of the test?
Oh my god, I'm going to fail! she determines, before she begins hyperventilating. Her moist hands find it hard to grip the book in her lap, and white spots have begun to splotch her eyesight. A blurry form that she assumes to be Peeta rushes at her from the kitchen.
"That's it!" Peeta exclaims, as he rips the textbook from her. "You're done studying now!" he adds, then tosses it onto the floor. The panic she felt just seconds before turns quickly to frustration as she sees her small animal surgical text splayed open on the floor.
"Damn it, Peeta! No, I have to study. I still have four more sections to go over before…" Her words are halted by Peeta's warm, soft lips on hers.
"It's called a study break," he responds, his imploring eyes searching hers. Katniss blows a long breath out, causing the fine tendrils of hair at her forehead to fly upwards, and as soon as she runs out of air, she finds she lacks the motivation to continue arguing with him, and a break doesn't seem like a bad idea anymore.
"Fine," she acquiesces, giving him a small smirk. "So what should I do on this break?" she asks coyly.
"Don't worry. I've got it covered," he winks, and then quickly hooks his fingers in the waistband of her gray sweatpants and tugs them—and her panties—down in one fell swoop, and before she can speak a word, he has already pushed her back on the couch. His head of bedraggled blond hair nestles between her legs, and the only sound she can offer him is a squeak when his warm and wet tongue finds her center.
"Ahhhhhh!" The sound curls out from her mouth, as Peeta's tongue curls up inside of her. "Peeta," she gasps, her hand finding the back of his head, anchoring it to her.
Peeta moans against her clit. "I was beginning to forget what you tasted like," he says, then licks her clit softly, causing her to buck her hips closer to his mouth. Peeta's hand moves to push her pelvis back down onto the couch, before working her clit with his mouth once more.
Katniss can feel her skin begin to flush as she gets closer to her completion, but Peeta pulls his mouth away, causing her to groan in frustration.
"Take your shirt off," Peeta commands in a strained, husky voice; his hooded eyes never leave hers as she silently complies. He gestures his head towards her bra, which she unhooks and tosses to the floor. Peeta's tongue comes out to wet his lips as his darkened eyes take her in.
He lunges forward and grabs the base of her right breast and sucks her taut dusky nipple into his mouth. His teeth graze against the rigid flesh, causing her to moan loudly.
Peeta's hand glides down her bare stomach, through the small patch of dark downy curls, and he pushes his finger into her slick folds, using her arousal to wet his fingers and begin working tight circles on her clit.
Between the sensation of his teeth and warm tongue on her breast and the fire he is building at her center, it takes no time at all for her to cry out. Her back arches and her fingers cling desperately to the cushion of the couch. She finds herself shuddering at the intensity of her orgasm, and she continues to softly moan as Peeta coaxes aftershocks from her with the slow, gentle movement of his fingers.
But as good as the feeling was, it is fleeting, and she can feel her stress and anxiety begin to build again. She looks at Peeta, not even trying to hide the desperation on her face.
"Fuck me?" she begs.
"I'll do whatever you want," he says while nodding. "How do you want me to fuck you?"
Katniss thinks for a moment before pushing herself up on the couch on all fours, her back end facing Peeta. She looks back and finds him with a lopsided grin on his face, and his eyes sparkle mischievously.
He positions himself behind her, and she can hear him quickly unzip his pants and shift them down. She turns back to look at him once more.
"Fast and hard, ok?"
"Ok," he answers breathlessly, before slowly pushing into her from behind. Katniss sucks in a sharp breath when he has completely sheathed himself inside of her.
"You ready?" he asks.
"Yes," she moans softly.
"I'm not going to last long this way," he admits.
She shakes her head, "Don't care." She shakes her head.
Peeta doesn't speak again, and instead wraps his hand around her hip bones, pulls himself out of her, leaving only the head of his cock inside, then thrusts back into her, hard.
"Fuuuu…." she curses incoherently, before he begins to pound into her at a punishing speed.
She doesn't bother to use her hands to try and help her orgasm along; instead she revels in the feel of her sexy and loving boyfriend literally fucking her stress away. Every time his pelvis slams against her, she cries out, releasing a bit more of the tension she has bottled up inside her since she started studying for this test.
After a time, Peeta's thrusts become more erratic and clumsy; his fingers dig into her hips almost to the point of pain. He swears out loud as he comes. When he pulls out of her completely, she collapses onto the couch. Peeta leans down and dots her spine with soft kisses before shifting her onto her back and finishing her off with his fingers again.
After her orgasm, Katniss lets her head fall back onto the cushion and allows her eyes to slip shut. She can feel Peeta getting off the couch, and can hear him walk into the kitchen. When she hears the refrigerator close she forces herself to sit up.
Peeta returns and hands her a glass of cold water, which she gratefully accepts, and quickly chugs half the cup before putting it down on the coffee table.
"Thank you," she says to him, breathlessly.
"My pleasure," he replies with a wink. Katniss snuggles up against his side, her head falling softly against his chest. They remain quiet for quite some time. Peeta's fingers delicately glide against the back of her arm, leaving small goosebumps in their wake.
"Hmm?" he answers sleepily.
"I just wanted to say thank you for everything you've done over the past month. With helping me study and dealing with my erratic mood swings. I know it couldn't have been the easiest thing to deal with me." She sighs, suddenly feeling overwhelming guilt for all the times she was moody and snappy and distant to her perfect boyfriend.
"Can I confess something to you?" Peeta asks softly. She looks up to him, locking her eyes with his.
"Tell me," she coaxes.
"One of the things that I find so attractive about you is how incredibly smart you are."
"Oh yeah?" she smiles.
"Yeah. You would think after weeks of doing flash cards with you and quizzing you straight out of the book I would have a slight grasp of the subject matter, but I actually think I am more clueless now than I was before." He chuckles. "But you… god… you just know it. I could ask one little question and you could literally rattle off a textbook's worth of information about it and…." He brings his hands up to his head, mimicking an explosion going off. "...It just blows my mind. And it may sound weird, but you being that smart is such a fucking turn-on, you have no idea."
Katniss's cheeks begin to hurt as her smile tugs painfully on them. Her stomach is filled with fluttering butterflies and her breath lodges in her throat. She feels like a silly teenager when she looks at him through her lashes.
"How do you say those kinds of things about me with a straight face?" she asks him.
"Because I mean every word," he answers, and she can hear the offense he takes in his words.
"No, I know that," she reassures him. "It's just you are impressed with how smart I am... well I can't get over how good you are with words. It amazes me how easily they come to you and how eloquent they sound, even when you aren't feeling well." She sighs. "I would love to tell you everything I feel about you, but every time I try it comes out awkward, or I give up before I ever start."
Peeta quickly reaches up and cups her cheeks with his hands. He looks her square in the eye. Katniss thinks they look much darker than usual.
"You don't need to say anything. Everything you do shows me how you feel. I am so incredibly lucky to have you in my life. So please don't get down on yourself for some arbitrary goal you think you haven't met, when in fact you have gone above and beyond the call of duty."
"There you go again," she says with a grin, and he chuckles lightly in response. They sit that way for a long time, staring into each other's eyes. Katniss is sure she is about to drown in those bottomless blue orbs when Peeta's phone starts beeping.
Peeta retrieves his phone from his pocket and shuts off the alarm. He studies the screen, scrunching his brows together and sighs.
"I have to leave for therapy soon," he admits regretfully.
"It's ok." She smiles. " I should get going anyway." She moves her hands around the couch. "Have you seen my phone?" She looks up.
"Want me to call it?" he asks, as he swipes at the screen to his phone. She nods in response.
A few seconds later her phone makes itself known from the kitchen table, and she instantly regrets having Peeta call it.
"If you can hear a piano fall
you can hear me coming down the hall
if I could just hear your pretty voice
I don't think I need to see at all
Soft hair and a velvet tongue
I want to give you what you give to me
and every breath that is in your lungs
is a tiny little gift to me
"Is that the ringtone you have for me?" Peeta asks with a smirk.
"Maybe," Katniss squeaks, feeling a familiar heat climb up her neck. Peeta retrieves her phone and walks back over to hand it to her. He leans down and plants a kiss on her nose.
"See, your actions tell me all I would ever need to know."
A tremor runs through Katniss's body as she looks down at the envelope in her hands. The innocuous-looking white letter seems to weigh a hundred pounds. She reaches up and knocks on Peeta's door. Her sister chatters wildly behind her, but she can't make out anything Prim's been saying.
A few moments later, Peeta opens the door. His eyes are bloodshot and his blonde hair is more of a disheveled mess than usual. She wonders if he was napping. He looks at both of them through bleary eyes, at first with surprise, but that slow, sexy smile finally pulls at his lips. He looks down and sees the letter in Katniss's hands and his eyes widen.
"Can we just go inside? I'm cold and I want to know if Katniss passed already," Prim snaps impatiently. Peeta moves aside to let them both in.
It's been six weeks since Katniss took her her surgical certification test, and her scores have finally arrived. She could have viewed the results online already, but she couldn't bring herself to do it. So she waited for the letter and to be around the two people she loves most before she finds out if she passed or failed.
"Well!" Prim prompts, when Katniss just stands in Peeta's kitchen staring at the letter in her hand. Katniss looks up at Peeta, who looks just as eager as Prim. She shoves the letter against his chest.
"You do it." Katniss's voice shakes.
Peeta takes the letter in his hands and examines it.
"Oh my god, will someone open it already?" Prim whines.
"Prim!" Katniss snaps at her sister, before looking back to Peeta with nervous eyes.
Peeta handles the envelope as if it were the most fragile thing on earth. Katniss can see his fingers tremble as he gently rips it open.
"Oh," Prim gushes. "He's as nervous as you are, Kat!"
"Not nervous," Peeta corrects. "Excited." But for all his brave talk, Katniss swears she can see the color drain from his face.
Peeta pulls the sheet of white paper free. He unfolds it and begins scanning it, not giving anything away with his neutral expression. Katniss begins painfully chewing on her bottom lip; her heart is slamming in her ears and she can't tell if she is about to puke or faint.
"Peeta!" Prim screams.
He turns the paper quickly and dangles it in front of Katniss's eyes. Out of instinct, she closes her eyes shut, then slowly pries them open, until she can make out the words on the paper. Her jaw drops.
"I...I passed!" she gasps.
"By a lot!" Peeta boasts. She scans the page again and finds that her score does fall in the top 10% in the country.
"Holy shit!" Katniss spits out breathlessly.
"Kat!" Prim squeals, then wraps her arms around her older sister's waist from behind. Peeta follows suit and takes Katniss into his arms from the front.
"I can't stop shaking," Katniss says through chattering teeth.
"I'm so incredibly happy for you, Katniss," Peeta says into her hair, before planting kisses there.
Katniss, though still in shock, leans into the embrace of those around her and allows herself to smile, the crinkling of her eyes freeing a few well-deserved tears. She couldn't be happier. Everything she's ever dreamed of is falling into place...Finally.
Thank you so much for reading!
A large sloppy kissed thank you goes to Court81981 for being an amazing beta - not only for her correction making prowess, but because she got this back to me almost right after I sent it to her, because she knew you had been waiting long enough! Also or being an amazing friend, and for asking me every day (even when I couldn't manage to write a word) how A Healing Heart was doing... ILY!
Also a huge thank you to those of you that have stuck with this story, despite the lack of updating! I sincerely apologize for that. Real life got insane, but is starting to slow down now, and I don't foresee it taking too long at all to update... *fingers crossed*
I hope you enjoyed this chapter and all its fluffiness... We don't have much more to go, but I will warn you that the next chapter gets a little less... fluffy!
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